The Foundation for Asian American Independent Media

In 1995, musicians Sooyoung Park and William Shin and music journalist Ben Kim saw a need to help their fellow Asian-American artists. Seeking to educate audiences about Asian American history and issues, as well as to promote cross-cultural understanding, they founded the Chicago-based Foundation for Asian American Independent Media (FAAIM) in the hope that such an organization would foster a better understanding of their sometimes pigeonholed artistic community.

faaim-logo.jpgEach year FAAIM supports its community by networking and using connections to further its members’ artistic endeavors. Passing around screenplays and getting the word out through street teams are not uncommon promotional tactics, and local Chicago colleges and universities often hold screenings with moviemakers in collaboration with FAAIM. With the founders’ strong musical background, their aid to moviemakers also often takes the form of helping with the score of a movie. Perhaps most significant, however, is the exposure artists get at the Chicago Asian American Showcase. Held the first weekend of April each year, the showcase brings together Asian American moviemakers from across the nation—and specifically the Midwest.

“Being based in the Midwest is very important to our showcase,” says Tim Hugh, FAAIM’s festival director. “Our communities are smaller and experiences are different than those of Asian Americans who might have grown up in the east or west coastal areas. Because of this fact, we feel that through our showcase, we can foster that understanding of what it’s like to grow up Asian in America.”

To keep up-to-date with FAAIM events or for more information, visit

SOUND OFF QUESTION: Culturally-based arts organizations often seek to express the collective life experience of a group of people– should these organizations also seek to create a dialogue between their members and the “mainstream” world? Or is it enough to provide a space for artistic expression? Talk back in the comments section!

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